INTRODUCTION: Millions of Filipinos voted for the first time in eight years on Tuesday (7 April) on changes to the constitution that could grant sweeping powers to President Ferdinand Marcos.
SV Man voting, ZOOM IN TO CU ballot paper on ballot box.
SV Woman at ballot box giving finger-prints.
SV Wife of former Speaker Jose B. Laurels voting.
SV Woman looking at voters list.
CU Laurel giving fingerprint, PULL OUT TO SV Laurel filling in ballot form and ballot slip being placed in box, SV Laurel and wife leaving polling station.
SV Mrs Marcos collecting form and going into voting booth.
SV Woman looking in.
GV Mrs Marcos giving ballot paper to returning officer.
SV Mrs Marcos in midst of crowd at polling station.
SV Marcos seated at polling station table.
CU Marcos giving fingerprint, ZOOM OUT TO returning officer folding his ballot paper.
CU Marcos trying to place ballot paper in ballot box, ZOOM OUT TO Marcos having difficulty in getting paper in box.
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Background: INTRODUCTION: Millions of Filipinos voted for the first time in eight years on Tuesday (7 April) on changes to the constitution that could grant sweeping powers to President Ferdinand Marcos. Unofficial results indicated that the vote had gone in favour of the proposed constitutional amendments, thus allowing the President to stand for re-election next June.
SYNOPSIS: Voting was mandatory for the 25 million registered voters over 18 years of age. The penalty for not voting was one year's imprisonment, but despite this the turnout was estimated at only 80 percent. Precaution were enforced to prevent election frauds, although the watchdog commission is now investigating the alleged discovery of fake ballot papers in the city of Zamboanga.
The proposed amendments would revise the 1973 constitution so that the President could stand for a third term in office, have immunity from prosecution, and legal powers to impose martial law. Critics of the President, such as former Speaker Jose Laurel, maintain that President Marcos is merely seeking legitimacy for his absolute power, while ex-President Diosdado Macapagal has been quoted as saying that the President amends the constitution like he changes his shirt. But opposition members said they did not think the vote would go against President Marcos since they maintained his propaganda machine would insure a 'yes' vote.
President Marcos and his wife drove to his home town of Batac to cast his ballot. Confident of a landslide victory he said he would convene the interim National Assembly next week to prepare for presidential elections on June the 7th. Mr. Marcos, who has ruled the Philippines for more than fifteen years, eight of them under martial law, is so far the only known candidate.
The protracted era of authoritarian rule has eradicated most of the country's political institutions, though it has insured relative stability. An insurrection of Moslem separatists in the south of the country has been contained, and the communist rebels, belonging to the banned New People's Army, are in disarray. But the only effective opposition force is now the country's powerful Catholic Church.